Although widely used in policy debates, the literature on children’s outcomes in same-sex families has mostly relied on small selective samples or on samples based on cross-sectional survey data. This led to a lack of statistical power, misclassification of same-sex couples, and the inability to separate children born in same-sex families from children of divorce. We address these issues by using unique administrative panel data from the Netherlands: the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in the world. The results indicate that children raised by same-sex couples perform better than children raised by opposite-sex couples in both primary and secondary education. Our findings are robust to the use of Coarsened Exact Matching to improve covariate balance. Further analyses using a novel bounding estimator suggest that the selection on unobserved characteristics would have to be more than 2.5 times higher than the selection on observed characteristics to render the estimates insignificant.
Presented in Session 2. Children & Youth